Harvey Gulf to build first U.S.-flag OSVs fueled by LNG

The marine transport company Harvey Gulf International Marine has embarked on a project to build the first U.S.-flagged offshore supply vessel powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Harvey Gulf plans to build two 300-foot offshore supply vessels (OSVs), with an option for a third. Using the LNG fuel, the vessel will have the capacity to run for seven days with all three engines at full rpm.

STX Marine, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, is designing the vessel. The two vessels will cost about $110 million, according to Shane J. Guidry, CEO of Harvey Gulf. The company expects delivery of the first vessel in November 2013 and the second vessel in March 2014, he said. An equivalent Harvey Gulf OSV that is not duel-fuel costs $44 million per vessel.

Harvey Gulf selected Trinity Offshore, of Gulfport, Miss., to build the new vessels. Wärtsilä has been selected to provide the propulsion package and the power automation systems, according to a press release. The vessels will be powered by Wärtsilä's 6L 34DF engine that can run on natural gas or diesel fuel. The contract includes options for supplying equipment for additional vessels. This engine complies with the International Maritime Organization's Tier II exhaust emissions standards.

The vessels are being built in response to new regulations that require reduced emissions, Guidry stated in a press release.

In a phone interview, Guidry also said that the company is looking ahead, in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. "I think everyone has to take a step back and look deeper into the future and see where the industry is headed," he said.

"It's completely clean-burning — it is as clean as it can get," Guidry said about the use of LNG in the vessels. "We think as a company, now is the time to invest in LNG vessels."

Harvey Gulf just launched Harvey Supporter, the first OSV in the country that meets the American Bureau of Shipping certifications for "green" vessels. That vessel cost $4 million more than a conventional vessel to build, Guidry said.

The new vessel will be 302 feet long and 64 feet wide. It will have the capacity to carry 585,912 gallons of drill water, 17,138 gallons of potable water and 5,520 tons of deadweight at load line, according to Harvey Gulf specifications.

The vessel will have a total installed power of 7,830 kW. The two main drive motors are each 3,621 hp. The vessel's cruising speed is 12 knots. There are 46 berths, plus three in the hospital.

Harvey Gulf is working with the U.S. Coast Guard on this vessel, said Guidry. As of September, there were no U.S. Coast Guard regulations governing LNG-fueled vessels.

By Professional Mariner Staff